|Ancient Egyptian Pyramid|
The custom of human sacrifice seems to have been abolished in Egypt in early dynastic times. When the Pyramid Age is reached, no traces of it were left. Even the ritual killing of the divine king when he had lost his virility had by then been replaced by a ceremonial renewal of his powers in the Sed festival which soon assumed the character of a regnal jubilee. Courtiers and relatives continued to be accorded the privilege of being laid to rest close to the pharaoh’s sepulchre and their tombs stand in neat long rows by the sides of the pyramids at Giza. However, they no longer had to accompany the god immediately and instead occupied their eternal houses in their own good time.
Since we will be mainly concerned with the design, construction and function of the pyramids, the royal tombs of the first two dynasties which precede them are of particular interest. Menes, to seal the act of unification of the two lands, is credited with having founded the capital of his new realm. He chose the place at which Upper and Lower Egypt meet, at the apex of the Delta where the long narrow Nile valley fans out into the fertile plain of accumulated silt. He is said to have diverted the course of the river in order to gain space for the new city which he called White Walls, indicating that originally the capital was also a fortress. To us the city is known by its Greek name of Memphis. It remained the seat of the pharaonic government, with short interruptions, for one and a half millennia. In the early Middle Ages, four thousand years after its foundation, Memphis was still a magnificent city but from then onward its importance declined at the expense of the Arab town of Cairo, 20 miles to the north.
Prelude To The Ancient Egyptian Pyramids :
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